Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | June 18, 2012

Podcast #71: This Year’s Girl (1)

Here’s the podcast for Season 4, Episode 15 – This Year’s Girl (1)

Faith wakes up

Faith wakes up

Download: This Years Girl (1)

RSS Feed: The Buffy Rewatch

The next podcast will appear on Monday 25th June 2012 for episode sixteen of Season Four: “Who Are You (2).” That’s the one where Faith and Buffy switch bodies.

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  1. Quick comment on the last podcast and Marti Noxon, I did a quick google search. She was promoted going into season 4 but wasn’t officially made show runner until the show moved to the UPN for seasons 6 and 7. Though I agree she probably had more control then Joss for this season with attention being so divided.


    So before I begin, I know you were wondering what
    the episode title for “This Year’s Girl” meant. Well, I
    did some research, and the title is the same title of
    an Elvis Costello song. Originally, the writer of the
    episode, Douglas Petrie, was going to call it
    “Rise And Shine.” =)

    Now onto the episode. Wow. SMG and Eliza Dushku
    were INCREDIBLE! I couldn’t believe how well they got
    the other’s character down in terms of speech pattern,
    mannerism, body language, etc.. It would have been
    easy to just deliver the lines half-assed and not really
    bother to actually change your acting that much to
    emulate the other person… but what they did here
    was amazingly well done.

    This episode is a character study on Faith.
    She may have seemed insane in the past, but I believe
    with this episode, she comes across as quite sane,
    but with terrible baggage. She’s a very disturbed,
    very lonely, very repressed young woman.

    Faith has walked alone. Meaning she doesn’t address
    mistakes by talking about them, and sharing emotions
    with friends like Buffy sometimes does. She buries them.
    She packs those bad things away, never to be seen

    Buffy’s life is so much richer and warmer and better
    than Faith’s, so much that Faith’s emotions are stirred.
    And those emotions weaken her defenses. They crack
    the hard shell she wears.

    Faith enjoys those feelings — and yet she resists,
    because they are alien to her and they threaten
    how she thinks about herself, how she defines
    herself. Leading of course to her pushing Riley
    away. But she has been very much affected.

    But of course she’s not going to be cured overnight.
    It’s just a step in the process.

    I love the moment when Faith is punching Buffy in
    the church, but sees herself, and you understand
    what she’s saying is actually being said to *herself*
    Faith has fully realized exactly what she is and hates
    herself for it. I’m sure she did before, deep down,
    but it’s now risen to the surface. That moment of
    her shrieking and beating on her own likeness
    always gets me choked up.

    Also, I always find it interesting how Faith was
    dressed when she was waiting at the station.
    In bright floral colours. I think she was finally
    letting go of who she was and accepting
    herself as Buffy…which is why she dressed
    more like Buffy than herself. Was it an
    indication of her changing?

    Also, the mind blowing scene between Faith
    and Spike at the Bronze. WOW. Sizzling much?
    Definitely one of the hottest moments we’ve
    seen on Buffy.

  3. The Preface
    No offense to Cordia, but I’m not going to do the “Fuffy” and “Baith” thing. Despite my constant use of AweTacular (Awesome + Spectacular), I despise most word mash-ups, such as “Frenemy”.

    The Good
    I noticed that the shooting style of this episode is different than most episodes. They chose to use unusual angles and styles, such as the bathroom mirror montage. I think this showed the “fractured” description from Tara.

    I thought that Sara Michelle Gellar did a great job of emulating Faith’s mannerisms and speech patterns. Eliza Dushku did a passable job of simulating Buffy’s speech pattern, but her physical acting wasn’t on par with how SMG usually plays the role. However, I was very surprised that I could tell who was who based on the fighting styles during the confrontation in the church.

    It was good to see that some people associated with the Watcher’s Council are competent and didn’t fall into typical traps that lead to main character escapes. I also like the “save the speech” reference to when Wesley kidnapped Faith in “Consequences”.

    Did anyone else notice that Faith’s “crazycakes” moments slowly went away? We hear Faith’s crazy laugh in the bathroom scene and has a psycho daydream about stabbing Willow, but things tone down as Faith takes on more of Buffy’s life. By the end of this episode, I buy that Faith has changed enough that she could re-join the Scoobies.

    Despite this being a Buffy/Faith story, I think there is just enough of Adam’s story to keep his arc alive. Also, the time we see him moved his season arc forward. The decapitation was well done, too.

    I agree with everyone: Forrest has a Man Crush on Reily.

    What’s a stevedore? According to Wikipedia, “Stevedore has also become common as an appellation for a person who is over-muscular or foulmouthed.” Both are very different from the Giles we know, so I think that line was great.

    This episode was really good, so my Bad section is really nit-picky. Despite it being a reference to a scene I liked in The Zeppo, the “7 minutes” comment about Xander’s sexual prowess and subsequent “heys” felt forced. We get it, we get it! Xander and Faith had sex. Let it go. In addition, this is just another example of Xander’s character regressing to where he was in early Season III.

    The Fashion
    Buffy’s leather pants had the desired effect. *jaw drop*
    Why did Faith wear Riley’s shirt home? That’s basically like walking around campus announcing your Walk of Shame. Of course, I can’t see Faith having a problem with that.
    It seems odd that Faith would wear a very Buffy-like floral skirt on her way out of town. Why wouldn’t she wear her normal Slutbag clothing? Is this a visual way of showing that Faith is settling into being Buffy?

    Favorite Moment
    I love the seduction of Spike. Faith knows just how to hook him, and she does it perfectly. You can see how frustrated he is with how he was attracted when he throws his beer across the room. Is this an indication that Spike might actually feel something for Buffy? Did something from Willow’s spell in Something Blue stick around?

  4. I have to say I actually liked this episode better in the rewatch. “This Year’s Girl” is one of my all-time favorite episodes and this ep initially didn’t hold my interest quite as much. But, on rewatch and looking at it with a different eye I really enjoyed it.

    Joyce shows concern for Faith while talking to the cops “I just hope she gets some kind of help”. Joyce is the first person to mention to Fuffy that Faith is the way she is not because she’s evil but because she’s “horribly unhappy”. When she says it, it’s almost like it’s the first time that thought even dawned on Faith. When Joyce hugs Fuffy, she recoils because she is obviously not used to someone touching her in a loving manner.

    Love when Fuffy is checking her new self out in the mirror and keeps saying “You can’t do that because it’s wrong” in different ways to see what sounds most like Buffy to her. I saw this as kind of a “baseline” of what Faith’s perception of how Buffy is and her motivations. As the episode goes on we see how that perception changes based on her interactions of the people around her. I also like the way the sinister music kept that scene from being presented in a comedic way.

    While it’s completely within Faith’s character to find Buffy’s leather pants and tank top, I find it odd that no one seems to blink at how Fuffy is dressed. The two pieces might be in Buffy’s wardrobe, but she’d never dress that way wearing them together in such an overt attempt to be sexy.

    When Fuffy has sex with Riley and he tells her that he loves her, she freaks out. Her choice of words “What do you want from her?” underline that for Faith sex is more about power and control, not love. Also, interesting how Fuffy became more child-like when trying to get Riley off of her. She is a Slayer and could have thrown him completely across the room if she wanted him off. Instead, she started to cry and kept telling him to get off of her. I think the implication here is that Faith has a very dark history regarding sex.

    I actually love how the writing in this episode begins to peel back Faith’s layers revealing bits of a very complex character in a way that felt natural and made sense. It was obvious from the minute Faith burst into Sunnydale that she had issues. Without literally going through all the events that got Faith to where she is, we begin to better understand her mindset through her interactions with the people in Buffy’s life.

    References – my favorite internal reference of this episode was to Consequences. When Baith stakes the vampire from behind in the church to save Fuffy and we see it from Fuffy’s point of view. As the vampire turns to dust we see Baith revealed – much the way the same way Faith was revealed when she killed Mr. Trick while saving Buffy.

    Tara and Willow – we finally get confirmation about the nature of their relationship. Words cannot express how much I love them.

    The final scene where we see Faith on the boxcar heading away from Sunnydale. Even after everything she has done, you can’t help but feel sorry for Faith and hope that someone, somewhere is able to help her. She looks like someone in complete despair who feels defeated. Like there is nothing left. Why is that my favorite moment? Because it is in that moment that Faith appears most human. In that moment she isn’t a Slayer. She is just a girl who has been abused and neglected and desperately in need of stable support in her life.

    Least favorite moment – the undead boy-band Adam and the Vamps. It felt like the only purpose here was to remind the audience that Adam was still around. If he were interesting at all as a threat or science experiment, they wouldn’t have had to do that – we would have missed him. Instead we get an insipid scene with an awful wannabe-cool-vampire-as-leader-of-his-uncool-friends. Bad acting and stupid writing.

    All in all I thought this was a pretty great episode.

  5. Okay so here’s what I think about Who Are You?: Eliza Dushku was alright as Buffy, yadda yadda SMG was great at playing an uber slut (Don’t believe me, watch Cruel Intentions), Faith had sex with Riley (Um, eww), and Faith really hates herself, which is really sad.

    Now, let’s get to the only part of the episode I care about: Willow and Tara’s spell. It is such a sensual and beautiful scene, not only is it my favorite Willow & Tara scenes it is one of my favorites in the series. When I think of season four, I think of three things; Hush, Restless (Which I will totally comment on when we get there), and this scene. I love how the camera moves up on Willow and circles them. It is great camera work and I really took notice of it the first time I saw it. I am a huge Willow and Tara fan, and actually started watching Buffy because of them. I’ll admit season four Tara isn’t the best but I don’t think it’s too spoilery to say it gets better and there is a point (I won’t say when) that there is a shift in the character and after that, she is one of my favorite characters.

    Alright, I think I’ve gushed over Willow and Tara enough, as the episodes go on I will gush over them more and considering season four was not the best (which I will rant about more when we come to the end of the season) I am really looking forward to season five.

    P.S. Thanks for doing this podcast, it’s great and insightful makes me want to take a deeper look into Buffy The Vampire Slayer which I am working on currently so thanks for the inspiration.

  6. I’m almost all caught up!

    One thing I have to say is about Buffy’s initial reaction about being worried about Faith. I think that part of it is her morality, part of it is how Faith is the only other Slayer in the world, and part is Buffy’s guilt over almost killing Faith.

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